The Rust production team released a letter to the crew of the Alec Baldwin feature tonight saying that they’ve “made the decision to wrap the set at least until investigations are complete.”
The note comes as the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office is conducting a search warrant of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico after a discharged prop gun by Baldwin took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the film’s director Joel Souza in the shoulder on Thursday.
On Thursday night, Deadline first reported that the Rust production was halting for “an undetermined period of time” and conducting their own internal investigation of the fatal incident.
“As such, we are working through when you can pick up your personal items. You should expect an update on the wrap-out schedule tomorrow,” continued the letter from the Rust production tonight.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office is holding a press conference on Wednesday to provide details on the incident “which remains an active, open investigation”.
The letter from the Rust production tonight also says, “Our hearts are with all of you, as we all go through this tragic time and mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend, Halyna Hutchins.”
“We are family and we must stand beside each other as families do in difficult times. We remain in close touch with Halyna’s family and commend the strength they show in the face of unspeakable tragedy. It is beyond an inspiration,” continued the note while also stating that the production is conducting their own internal investigation.
The production emphasized in the note that they’re making in-person and virtual grief counselors available to the crew 24/7. The note from production ended saying that “We will be making a donation to the Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund established by Halyna’s family. We will be matching any donations by the crew.”
According to an affidavit on Friday from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, it reads that Assistant Director David Halls grabbed one of three prop guns that was set by Armorer Hannah Guiterrez. Halls took the gun to Baldwin and yelled “cold gun.” Souza in that report prepared by Detective Joel Cano, said that the shooting occurred during a rehearsed scene, occurring after lunch and in a church building on the movie ranch.
Reads the investigation, “Actor Alec Baldwin was sitting on a wooden pew facing south toward the camera and crew. Joel said the rehearsal entailed Actor Alec Baldwin cross drawing his weapon and pointing the revolver toward the camera lens.” Souza remembers hearing the words “cold gun” per the affidavit.
According to Souza earlier in the report, “everyone was getting along” on the day of the shoot “there were no altercations that took place to his knowledge.”
Detective Cano also spoke with Reid Russel, the camera-man working on the film, who detailed a heavy work day that started late due to six members walking out of the film as they were “having issues with production involving payment and housing.” Russel also told Cano that the camera crew who walked out on the film wrote a letter to production on disagreements.
In the wake of Thursday’s tragedy, not only is the Santa Fe Sheriff’s department looking into the tragic incident, but the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, which can impose civil penalties for workplace accidents, even if law enforcement determines no crime occurred.
New Mexico’s top prosecutor, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, also told Deadline Friday, “This case is still in its preliminary states of investigation,” and that, “At this time, we do not know if charges will be filed. We will look into all facts and evidence of the case with great discretion and have further information at a later time.”